Monday, October 24, 2016

Waves are Hard but so is Gently Rolling Water

 It seemed that everything was turning a corner. Life was smoother. Attitudes were softer. Personalities were loving and kind, even considerate. Hugs came on a regular basis and sweet compliments flowed like honey. Who could ask for more right? 

 If you have spent time praying for a loved one who has been shut off or harsh, this change would seem like a welcome sight, especially when it took so many prayers and studying God's Word to get your own heart responding to the struggle in a Godly manner.  

 The popular quotation from C.H. Spurgeon, "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages," is one you can relate to when you are pushing through difficult relationships. Learning to not just accept but appreciate the difficulty that drives you to desperately rely on Christ is not easy but what about when the waves die down. 

 What about when there is just a gentle rocking of the water that lulls you into a relaxed state? Just as it seems that you have gotten to a place where your personal struggle is gaining victory, you find yourself floating along with no struggle at all.

 Or do you? 

 Once upon a time, I would pray for God to soften a person's heart so that they were easier to deal with but then God allowed it to happen. That is when wisdom showed me that this is a struggle that is actually just as hard as the driving waves. 

 You think I am crazy, don't you? And you are probably correct but not about this matter.

 When you deal with a person who is harsh, unloving, or just plain hateful to Christianity, it is easy to remember to pray and rely upon God. You know to hold tight to Truth because you realize that there is nothing in you that can help the situation. It is also no difficult matter to keep in mind their true need for Christ and in whom to seek your satisfaction and joy

 But flip this scenario over. What if you have someone who is loving and sweet and compassionate, but not walking with Christ? Sure, it is less complicated to love them but you do it from a different motivation. Falling into the trap of being satisfied in what they are providing you emotionally and even physically, makes you lose focus of their real need. Once you lose that, you quickly forget to rely on God for wisdom in dealing with this person. When that happens, there is only a short step to neglecting to pray because you forget that you both need it. The wave that threw you against the Rock of Ages is now quietly and sweetly drifting you out to sea without you realizing it.

 As challenging as it is, you have to remember that knowing Jesus is the ultimate goal for a person whether kind or hard-hearted. The necessity of keeping your focus becomes clear when a person slips from their sweetness and is having a bad day. They fall short of the unrealistic expectation you have put on them and act in a way that is hurtful. You become painfully aware that you have forgotten how to kiss the wave or why you even needed to in the first place. 

 We must maintain a diligence in prayer and seeking God in the face of the good, bad, or ugly. In this way, we truly love others because they are not weighed down by our expectations and they see an inexplicable, consistent love that is not tied to our wants or circumstances. 

 Don't let ease or happiness make you complacent. Stay diligent and focus on the eternal. And when the wave dies down, remember that it will be necessary for you to swim against the gently rolling water to the Rock before you drift too far. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Satisfaction Anemia

 Why do Christians find themselves deficient in satisfaction? 

 It happens quite often in my life sadly. Christians should really not have a satisfaction that is lethargic and waning. Our satisfaction is not tied to this world or the things in it, including people. Our satisfaction is found in Jesus and, regardless of what we are facing, that satisfaction is anchored securely in that which reaches our very core and is complete and fulfilling. It can not be shaken.

 Losing sight of Christ and forgetting His glory and power is one reason we become anemic in satisfaction. We let other things slip in and become prominent in our lives. 

 There is one sure place that we can grasp firmly to satisfaction. In the midst of the savagery and harshness and sin-stained world, there is a binding secure hold that rights all things. Isaiah 11 is a good reminder, particularly verse 9:
"They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea."

 Before that it talks of how the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the goat and children can play near the cobra. How does it happen? Where does this peace and change come from? 

 It is derived and born from the same place as a Christian's satisfaction - "full of the knowledge of the Lord." 

 When I am shaky and my satisfaction feels weak, I need only to return to the Word and fill myself with the knowing of Jesus. 

 Satisfaction complete. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

We Interrupt this Program with Reality

  Man, oh man, I am exhausted. Apparently, we were in the queue for the emotional roller coaster and now the ride is slowly pulling into the station. 

 Awaiting test results from Jellybean's genetic testing is very anticipatory but I am trying to keep in the back of my mind that it may not render any more answers than we have now. Ultimately, it will be fine either way because I know without a doubt God is in control. 

 In July, we went to court for Terminated Parental Rights and 30 days later, it was heartbreaking that on paper Jellybean was in the custody of the state. It was hard. If he was older, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to him. Tough stuff.

 With barely a foot off that train, we were rushed to the adoption gate. I suppose, not having done foster care really seeking adoption as the end goal, we thought it would take time to get to that point. That is when we were told that it would be all done in 30 days. Promptly, they buried us in extra paperwork. 

 Don't get me wrong, we LOVE Jellybean and he is and has been part of our family for these almost 2 years. The only way I can explain it is by quoting my adoptive friend, "Adoption is very weighty." 

 Pondering on it, made me realize that earthly adoption is flawed. There is loss and sadness attached to it but adoption by God is perfect and completely gain on our part. That's something with which you can stabilize yourself and I have needed it.

 We were barely 24 hours in this new position when we were dealing with sudden respiratory issues. It has been a torrential storm of sleepless nights, vomit, steroids, suction, 2 emergency room visits, a 5-day hospital stay, and an unexpected encounter with his birth mother. All that in our first week of adoption. 

  So our celebration was interrupted with harsh reality. I am still sorting through some strange emotions about the whole process. Let's not even talk about the feelings of inadequacy after dealing with all this illness & running to the doctor.

 But God is good. He is sufficient in all things and with all things.  

 One happy note is that I can post adorable pics without blocking Jellybean's face. So without further ado, here is our newest little blessing from God who will hopefully be all better soon and this little piggy's family will all get rested up.